Mikel Arteta is getting closer to joining his fantasy Arsenal team as he pursues Manchester City striker Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The Gunners have been connected with the 25-year-old, who is poised to depart Manchester City this summer to pursue other opportunities.
Zinchenko has been on the outside of Pep Guardiola’s squad this season, but that isn’t necessarily a reflection of his skill given City’s star-studded lineup.
Most players would struggle to dislodge Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, two of the world’s top full-backs.
Zinchenko can also play in midfield, as he does frequently for Ukraine, but with Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, and Bernardo Silva ahead of him, those options are even more limited at City.
Given Kieran Tierney’s injury problems at left-back and Arsenal’s lack of depth in the middle of the field, Arteta has pursued Zinchenko this summer.
The Gunners manager stated almost two years ago that his ideal tactical formation is a 4-3-3, but he has failed to execute it owing to the restricted choices available to him.
“We want to move to a 4-3-3,” the Spaniard said. “But for that, you need a lot of specificity in every position but now in five or six positions, we don’t have it.”
Zinchenko is at ease in either position owing to his confidence on the ball, and his technical qualities are sometimes underappreciated since he isn’t a fixture in City’s starting XI.
However, his teammates are well aware of how excellent he is, as seen by Walker rating him technically higher than Kevin De Bruyne.
Zinchenko has predominantly played as a left-back for City, however despite the fact that Pep Guardiola regards him as a squad rotational player, he only started 10 Premier League games last season.
While he is not dissatisfied with his current situation, Zinchenko would want to see more playing time, and Arteta is well aware that his preferred position is in midfield.
If he submits a transfer request, City will not stand in his way, but West Ham will compete with Arsenal for his signing, even if David Moyes sees him as a left-back.
Arsenal are interested in acquiring Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, although their interest in Zinchenko is said to be separate from their pursuit of the Belgian.
The Gunners’ failure to finish in the top four has had an influence on their transfer intentions, with Arteta poised to be allocated a lower budget than originally envisaged.
His top goal is to replace Alexandre Lacazette, who is poised to join Lyon when his contract expires at the end of the month.